· Thursday April 11, 2013

Newtown. April, 2013. Between the ebb of cheap Thai and flow of fro-yo franchises comes Mary's. It nods at Hartsyard, The Midnight Special, Bloodwood; but it's the first of the Class of '13. I'd call it a clique, but that would imply it's not welcoming. It is.

Familiar faces behind the bar (Bodega/Porteno) are smiling. They're probably just relieved to be pulling beers and not pulling up nails anymore. In what was an old club hall, they've built in an entire mezzanine level. The pitched roof lends a barn feel to this saloon.

If Jack Daniels can be an aesthetic, this is it. From the light fittings to the pepper and salt cellars. Makes sense, this is a place for drinking. The taps will keep locals happy - Resch's and Young Henry's have their place. The bar is capable with a booze-heavy cocktail (the list is currently verbal), and wines take a welcome detour through France and the US.

The menu is a fast food medley - burgers (on a soft steamed bun) with fries or chips, really good fried chicken by the bird or half and heart-stoppingly creamy mashed potato and gravy. The chef is ex-Tetsuya's, but that doesn't matter. He is smoking his own bacon in a trashcan. Which all makes sense as you go from Motörhead to Ol' Dirty Bastard in the space of a drink.